Entry Points (2015)

Course Overview

The study of public policy is concerned with how the formal, stated decisions of government bodies are initiated, formulated and implemented, and how the policy process can be improved. Social policy relates to the role of the state in relation to the welfare of its citizens. This programme aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of the sources of public and social policy, and the implications of that policy for social institutions, individuals and the political system. It draws on key elements of legal, social, political and economic theory, and provides students with an understanding of how legal, political and economic systems function. Students develop specialisations in their chosen policy areas, which include health, crime, family, environment, housing, human rights and social inclusion.

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Minimum Grade HC3 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at H or O level in the Leaving Certificate, including Irish, English, another language and three other subjects recognised for entry purposes.

Additional Requirements


3 years

Next start date

September 2016

A Level Grades (2015)

BBB or equivalent combination

Average intake


Closing Date

Next start date

September 2016

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




PAC code

Course Outline

Year 1

  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Economics Coursework
  • Introduction to Research in Public and Social Policy
  • Irish Legal Systems
  • Law and Social Policy
  • Administrative Law I
  • Introduction to Politics and Sociology
  • Concepts and Practices in Politics and Sociology
  • Problems in Politics and Sociology
  • Public and Social Policy in Ireland

Year 2

  • Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Mathematics for Economics
  • Sociology of Law
  • Constitutional Law I
  • European Politics
  • Public Administration
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • Economics of Public Policy
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Health Law and Policy
  • Social Issues and Policy Responses
  • Methods for Social and Political Scientists

Year 3

  • Topics in Microeconomics Theory
  • European Community Law I
  • Development and Change
  • Theories of the Policy Process
  • Public Economics
  • European Community Law II
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • Policy Seminar
  • Choice of modules in Economics, Law and Sociological and Political Studies

Further Education

This programme provides students with a foundation with which to pursue further study in the areas of law, economics, sociology, politics, journalism, community development, social work, teaching, human relations, business, and public and social policy. Graduates wishing to pursue a career in law may be admitted to the full law degree, the LLB, and are exempted from first year. />

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This degree provides an innovative and attractive educational foundation in the policy-making process and will open up career possibilities in central and local government, the EU, nongovernmental organisations and other bodies involved in the policy process. It also provides an excellent foundation for a career in public administration, industrial relations, journalism, social work, community work, management, administration, development agencies, banking and business, as well as research.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Some students have availed of Erasmus opportunities in universities in Malta, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€5,822 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Tuition

€2,598 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Student Contribution

€3,000 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2015/16

Fees: Non EU

€12,750 p.a. 2015/16
EU Fees 2015/16:
- Tuition: may be paid by the Irish Government on your behalf if you qualify for free tuition fees see - free fee initiative.
- Student Contribution: €3,000 - payable by all students but may by paid by SUSI if you apply and are deemed eligible for a means tested SUSI grant.
- Student Levy:  €224 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI.

Find out More

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies
T +353 91 493 958
F +353 91 495 508
E collegearts@nuigalway.ie

Past Students

James Corcoran

BA (Public and Social Policy)

"I picked this degree because I was interested in the range of different subject areas which you study; Law, Economics, and Sociological and Political Studies. There was regular continuous assessment which helped me to keep on top of the workload. There are a wide range of jobs that you could go into, the main area is in policy making for government institutions or private businesses, you could also branch out and go into other areas such as teaching."